Weekend Art Seeking

As you all well know, David and I are enthusiastic supporters of the arts in all it’s forms. With busy work and school schedules, a small pocketbook, and in some ways limited resources, it is not always easy to get out and actually do the supporting that we like to talk about! But occasionally things just work out. This past Saturday was one of those occasions thanks to a couple dear friends and a wonderful afternoon at “A Day in the District“. (One day of free art for everyone throughout the Fort Worth Cultural District. Many cities offer similar special events so check them out! This is a wonderful way to experience the cultural treasures your city has to offer without breaking the bank.)

The day began with a trip to the Amon Carter Museum for an improvisation based dance performance by Contemporary Dance Fort Worth (through which I am now back in the saddle and attending an adult modern dance class). Environmentally inspired improvisation weaved through the museum’s main gallery and onto the front portico and lawn. Each phase of the dance expressed a unique and relatable idea in an obviously carefully thought and structured form. I loved following the dancers from space to space and seeing how they interpreted their surroundings through movement! The art and interior were brought to life in a way unique to the momentary nature of dance.

Following a tour through the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, David and I then joined a couple friends at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for an evening of Mendelssohn. Besides the extraordinary performance by the orchestra (finest I’ve ever heard), the symphony’s performance hall in the Meyerson Center was truly stunning! A vast shell-like lobby created a sense of expanse and broadness that only enhanced the impression of greater things to come. Coiling corridors opened into an intimate performance hall and incredible acoustics supported a moving musical performance.

Upon returning home, it’s no surprise that we were totally exhausted. Art, dance, music, culture, and inspiring architecture all in one day! It’s hard to forget how fortunate we really are.

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One More…

… Ok, there may be more than just one more. In fact, if I can keep myself focused there may be many more paintings to come! What I didn’t mention in yesterday’s post was that my artistic interests have also blossomed now that my freelance schedule opened up. Here’s a quick look at my most recent work in watercolor.

Like I’ve said before, this is by no means an attempt to prove myself as a serious artist because I am not. This is just another example of a creative gal exploring a creative medium. I actually recommend it as an exercise for designers of all forms. It’s an excellent way to experiment with composition, color, texture, shape… all the same things we work with in design but without the limitations of function and all the freedom of abstraction! Give it a try sometime and let me know what you think.

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Pieces of the Process

As two youngsters close to the academic environment, David and I are still very familiar with the idea of process being equally important as product. In school, this is a luxury that is not often afforded in the professional world. While our grades certainly rested upon the shoulders of the work we produced, it was also emphasized that the learning acquired during the creative process was a significant step to success for the burgeoning artist or designer.

This idea couldn’t have been more clearly demonstrated in our recent anniversary art project.

You may remember the slew of drafts both David and I developed before actually placing brush to canvas…

The initial preparation for our work was extensive and more than either one of us expected but it was absolutely crucial (especially for two wide-eyed beginners like ourselves). By the end of the night, we had a large pile of drafts left over. All together, they made a really interesting visual impression. After hanging the “official” artwork, we realized that the drafts would make a striking installation as well. So, as a part of my birthday gift to David, who celebrated his 26th about a week after our anniversary, I did a little office clean-up and art installation.

My art seeking, forward thinking, process conscious husband loved it, which made me very happy! He can now be inspired by the pieces of the process in a place that is dedicated to his artistic process.

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Upholstered Art

Ok, it’s time for a little DIY action. A few comments on Monday’s post about Josef Frank’s stunning fabrics reminded me that I had yet to publish photos of a home project I worked on earlier in the month. (silly me… I usually jump at those opportunities to share)

Since my days of interior design school, I have slowly relinquished a large collection of fabric samples intended for class projects. Much of my original collection was very nice but a few of the pieces were exquisite and so I chose to hold onto a those for some unknown future. Now, my assemblage of prized textiles rests quietly organized in storage. All my best intentions are for their eventual use but up until today’s project, that hadn’t happened. So, I finally decided to give one lucky fabric it’s worthy presentation by framing it in an odd frame I had sitting around the house. Here are the super simple steps I took:

1)     I measured and cut a piece of cardboard to loosely fit the inside of the frame. (If the fit is too tight, there won’t be room for the fabric once the cardboard is wrapped)

2)     After fitting the card board to the inside of the frame, I selected my fabric. (Had I done this in the first step, I may have chosen a fabric that was too small for the cardboard).

I chose a beautiful golden hued flame-stitch.

3)     Next, I cut my fabric to fit the cardboard with about an inch and a half clearance around the edge to allow for wrapping. With my newly cut fabric, I placed the cardboard in the center and stapled the fabric edges to the back side of the cardboard.

4)     Once my fabric was securely “upholstered” to the cardboard, I place it in the open frame.

Et voila!! As simple as un, deux, trios, my textile art is complete!

Quick and simple projects are wonderful things. They give you an immediate sense of success and accomplishment! If you have a box of fabric scraps around the house or perhaps a favorite textile in mind (one that might be too expensive to upholster the sofa in), try using them as art instead. As a fellow pattern enthusiasts, I’d love to know what you choose!

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Amateur Artists

Last minute plans usually go one of two ways, really great or really not. This past Thursday evening, David had a last minute idea for a memorable (and affordable) activity to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. Our hope… that the plan would be great despite it’s impromptu arrangement. Instead of spending a large amount of money on a fancy restaurant (which we have done before and it was totally enjoyable) he suggested staying in for an evening of wine and art! What’s the art about, you ask? A chance to create our own amateur artwork together over fine wine (and after a delicious home-cooked meal, I might add).

We both feel that original art is an important part of our home and would love to increase our collection. At this point, the “easiest” way for us to do that is by creating our own!! So, after preparing the meal plan, I stopped by Hobby Lobby, picked up a couple of canvases, some acrylic paint, brushes, and a palette and said a quick prayer for a bit of beginners luck to boot. (For those that are curious, our project cost us less than $30 in total!)

It was a bit overwhelming at first, as neither one of us have any real experience with paint, but we were both excited about the idea of making something together. By the end of the night (and many preliminary drafts later), we had completed two works of art conceived individually but created together.

Our amateur pieces of artwork now have a permanent home in our personal collection of original art and we couldn’t be happier!

FYI, if you decide to take on a similar project of your own, please send me pictures! I’m interested in creating an album on Facebook that features the photos I have received from my dear readers’. I’m looking forward to future submissions!

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Gallery Opening!

Several hours of work and much deliberation later, my paper templates are filed away and my gallery wall of personal photos and artwork is complete!! (or, at least until I decide to make the next batch of changes… things are always evolving around here!)

Take a look at the beginning of this project HERE.

My inspiration started here:

This room, designed by Kristen Buckingham, is full of such beautiful and unique layers. When I first saw it, I was immediately attracted to the bold wall of artwork, the folksy and old-world sofa, the small Art Deco lamp on the right, and the bright green glass lamp on the left offsetting it all. In my opinion, the perfect balance of sophistication, artistry, playfulness, and comfort…. all goals of mine in creating the environment of our home.

Now, this is my version.

The wall above was already painted when we moved into our house and naturally acts as a focal point when guests enter our home. It’s open to our living and dining areas, acts as our library, and is the passageway to our bedroom in the back of the house. A gallery of artwork and personal photos that are significant to David and I seemed like an appropriate use of the space.

Urged on by commenters in THIS post, I decided that a little neon punch would help up the edge factor in our fairly traditional home. So, I included a bright, apple green vase in my design found totally by happenstance at a local thrift store. (those are the best discoveries)

Our main living area has one less bare wall now. I am filled with a great sense of accomplishment every time I walk by it and reminded of the many things I love. It’s far from perfect but that’s part of what I like about it. There’s room to grow and change!

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Work in Progress… Art Gallery

What does one do when the budget is tight? FINISH those projects you once started and left undone!! I am finally taking things to the next step with my collection of framed photos and artwork that I intended to create a wall collage with far too long ago.

Now that I’ve set my mind to it, I’ll be done in no time. I’ve collected my tools, assembled my materials, and finalized the design… all that’s left is to finish it. Gallery opening coming soon!!

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“Raw Color”

I’ve been thinking a lot about color recently. (notice the swatches on my desk in THIS post) I finally committed myself to carefully planning the colors, concept, and design of our home rather than the usual spur of the moment, undeveloped decisions that I usually make. Of course, this is going to take some serious time and consideration, but I am 100% up to the challenge! While taking my daily jaunt around the internet yesterday, I happened upon THESE artists’ project that seemed to fit my current state of mind perfectly! Here’s a brief description of their exhibit:

“A visual research about vegetables and their powerful color. Vegetables are dismantled and purified to their visual essence ‘RAW COLOR‘. The harvested color is captured by a new process preserving their intensity on color cards. Categorized by shades and families, a new map is created which shows their beautiful diversity. This project reinterprets the vegetable and puts it into new context.”

All photos property of Daniera ter Haar & Christoph Brach of Raw Color, Layout: Hilary Walker

Fascinating project! Especially when one spends most of their free time considering the minute and subtle nuances and intricacies of color in its endless varieties.

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